Ever since the regulatory reform that was made in 2006 took place, then any responsible person for properties that are non-domestic must have a fire risk assessment. This assessment will need to include steps that reduce or eliminate the chances of fire, and it will be necessary to identify any people who are at risk. When there are 5 or more employees that work from the non-domestic premises, then a record will need to be kept of any findings that come from the assessment and that record must be kept by the responsible person.
If the responsible person (RP) doesn’t have total control over all areas of the building, then they will need to share any details they find that are considered significant risks. The owner or landlord will then be responsible for making certain that all regulations are followed and complied with for the parts of the building that they maintain control over. This often means that both parties will need to cooperate and communicate to properly follow fire safety provisions. Here we will take a look at some facts about the fire risk assessment.
Is The Fire Risk Assessment Required By Law?
Yes, this is a requirement under the regulatory reform that took place in 2006. The legislation for Northern Ireland and Scotland is slightly different and more broad in scope than what is included in England and Wales but by and large they are very similar. Regardless of which area you live, following the regulations will be a requirement if you are the responsible person for the non-domestic building.
The newest legislation has been designed to replace all others that came before it. It greatly streamlines the necessary requirements for those in Wales and England. Since it was passed, the legislation requires that those who are responsible for schools, housing associations, hospitals, and other landlords must make themselves familiar with the legislation so that they can make sure to fulfill its requirements. There are a number of requirements to meet the standards of the legislation.
A failure to comply with the fire risk assessment is a serious offense and anyone found to be in violation can be prosecuted and if found guilty could be fined tens of thousands of pounds. In the more extreme cases, someone who is found guilty could be sentenced to time in prison. The person held responsible is the one that has been given the authority to manage the property. This is called the RP which stands for ‘responsible person’.
What Things Need To Be Covered When Performing An Assessment?
- Identify any persons at risk and any hazards that exist and remedy the conditions and eliminate the risks.
- Reduce any known conditions that could cause a fire.
- Take precautions so that should a fire break out, the damage will be minimised.
- Make sure there is a way for occupants to exit in the case of an emergency.
Can The RP Assign Someone To Carry Out The Fire Risk Assessment?
The legislation does allow any competent person to perform the fire risk assessment but it is being found that many of the RP’s and those who are assigned to the task lack the appropriate level of knowledge if they try to carry it out unaided. The most stable people are those with enough experience to fully analyse all of the existing risks. Building owners and property managers often lack this level of experience.
What Does A RP Do If They Recognise They Lack Suitable Skills To Carry Out An Appropriate Fire Risk Assessment?
The assessment doesn’t seem especially difficult to do at first but ultimately is more difficult to do well, so not all parties who are responsible are capable. The recommendation given by the Fire Industry Association is that the responsible person should get an independent person capable of performing the fire risk assessment. It is important, however, that the RP use only certified assessors to make sure that they are reliable.
Almost anyone can set them self up as a risk assessment specialist but this doesn’t mean they have the necessary experience or skill. If someone has even a minimal background inside the fire industry they might think that they have what’s needed to perform these assessments. Business owners or other RP’s then contract these assessors without knowing that they really lack the experience to do the job well.
The thing that is good to know is the fact that in the past few years, dozens of companies with genuinely reliable fire risk assessors have become available across the UK. It is believed that in the coming years it’s going to grow even more and that there will be public education that is capable of verifying the assessor’s skills. Because this assessment is a legal requirement the responsible person should take special care to use only certified assessors when they are in charge of a public building or business.
How Can A RP Make Sure The Assessor Is Certified?
The easiest way is by checking with the Fire Industry Association by going to their website and looking at their register. You simply look under ‘find a member’ and you will see independent bodies that are certified. When you see this on that site, then you can be assured that their assessment skills are up to standard.